Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr.)
By Muhammad Bello and Segun James
On a day President Goodluck Jonathan announced a multilateral approach to tackle floods that have ravaged many states of the federation, a large body of water cut off his home state of Bayelsa from the rest of the country.
As part of the efforts to tackle the crisis, the president announced the constitution of a 34-member committee, whose membership includes President, Dangote Industries Limited, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and Chairman, Globacom Nigeria Limited, Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr.), to raise funds to support government’s efforts in providing urgent relief for flood victims.
The flooding in Bayelsa has forced the Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, to order the indefinite closure of all public and private schools in the state as the flood submerged Yenagoa, the state capital.
Jonathan, in a nationwide broadcast, announced the Federal Government’s immediate provision of N17.6 billion to states and some federal agencies to enable them cope with the emergency.
Shortly after the broadcast yesterday morning, the president also announced the constitution of the 34-member National Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation to mobilise funds that would be used to bring succour to the flood victims in the affected states.
The committee will be jointly chaired by Dangote and former President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, while Adenuga is designated as the chief fund mobiliser.
Other members of the committee are Alhaji Karami Isiaku Rabiu, Alhaji Mohammed Indimi, Ngo Hannatu Cholum, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, former Minister of Information, Prof. Dora Akunyili, and former Managing Director, United Bank for Africa Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu.
Others include Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Tunde Lemo, who is representing the bank, Ms. Fatima Wali, former Minister of Information Frank Nweke (Jnr.) and a former presidential adviser, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa.
The president lamented the effects of the floods, which he said had rendered tens of thousand Nigerians homeless, and destroyed property, farmlands and infrastructure.
He said in a bid to tackle the problem, his administration had set up a Presidential Technical Committee to visit all affected areas to properly assess the impact of the floods and suggest how the Federal Government could help the states.
According to the President, before the current intervention, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) had spent N1.314 billion, the Ministry of Works spent N556 million on the repair of collapsed bridges and the construction of bye-passes, while the Ministry of Environment spent N95 million on relief measures.
He said: “In addition to this, the Federal Government has decided on a number of measures to further ameliorate the situation. These include the immediate provision of a total of N17.6 billion in direct financial assistance to the affected states and some Federal Government agencies responsible for disaster management. The states will receive a total of N13.3 billion, while the federal agencies will receive N4.3 billion.
“Based on the present assessment, the states have been categorised into four groups: A to D. All Category A states will receive N500 million each; Category B states, N400 million each; Category C states, N300 million each; and Category D states, N250 million each.”
Jonathan named Category A states as Oyo, Kogi, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Delta, Bayelsa and Anambra.
Category B states are Jigawa, Kano, Bauchi, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Taraba, Cross-River, Edo, Lagos and Imo.
While Category C states are Kwara, Katsina, Gombe, Ogun, Ondo, Ebonyi, Abia and Rivers.
Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Yobe, Enugu, Ekiti, Osun, Akwa-Ibom, Borno and FCT are under Category D states.
The shares of federal agencies from the distribution of the special intervention fund, are as follows: Ministry of Works, N2.6 billion; National Emergency Management Agency, N1.1 billion; Ministry of Environment, N350 million; National Commission for Refugees, N150 million; and Technical Committee on Floods Impact Assessment, N100 million.
A statement after the broadcast by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, said the fund raising committee would assist to mobilise resources for the provision of relief materials to flood victims nationwide and for the post-impact rehabilitation of the affected persons and communities.
However, the president’s home state could no longer be accessed by road, as the only highway leading to the state, the East-West Road was yesterday cut off at two points, Umeh in Delta State and Okobe in Rivers State.
The worsening flood crisis has prompted Dickson to order the immediate and indefinite closure of all schools in the state.
He also sought the approval of the state House of Assembly to withdraw N1.5 billion from the N27 billion Compulsory Savings Account of the state to tackle the emergencies.
Dickson, in a statement by his media aide, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said the decision to close the schools was taken to save lives due to the flooding occasioned by the alarming rise in the water levels across the state.
Meanwhile, the Kogi State Government has expressed appreciation to the Federal Government for assisting flood-ravaged states, describing the announcement of the N17.5 billion support fund as timely.